Until his demise, he used to call me ‘DeeJay Herbal’. It is one of the numerous nicknames given to me by my compatriots who have worked with me, but he decided to stick to ‘DeeJay Herbal’.
At exactly 2pm, Monday to Friday, between 2008 and 2011, while I am signing off to make way for Ekosii Sen after interviewing herbalist on Asempa 94.7FM, KABA would join me on air live in a jovial way as, ‘DeeJay, se wagye ahye wo ho’, I will then respond with a laughter, then KABA would come in again and say, ‘Deejay, ka nokroe, wagye ahye wo ho’, then he would shout, ‘Deejay Herbal’ then we begin discussing about the day’s menu for the show.
He kept calling me with such nickname, shelving my real name Kweku Antwi-Otoo.
Kwadwo Asare Baffour Acheampong (KABA) as I know and worked with from the year 2008 to the year 2011 before I left Multimedia Group, was a dedicated staff who worked tirelessly to ensure that what was assigned to him was well executed.
Let me take the opportunity to share with you how I and other workers of Multimedia met KABA.
It was at the University of Ghana, Legon in December 2007 when the “nineteen thieves” of the ruling party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) under former President Kufuor, converged at Legon to choose the flagbearer for the 2008 elections. In fact, the “nineteen thieves” is not coming from me. It was given to then nineteen aspirants of the NPP by the General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia.
I joined Multimedia in July 2007 with Asempa FM and our first major outdoor assignment was the coverage of that congress to elect the flagbearer.
I was then assistant News Editor to Jerry Tsatro Mordy. Kojo Preko Dankwa of now EIB was the Head of Productions. Mr. Von Klous Bukusitin was the Chief Operating Officer for Asempa FM. Nana Apeanti was the Programmes Manager.
Von, as we all call him, assembled the team to cover the maiden outdoor event of Asempa which had hit the airwaves not quit long. The team was made up of myself, Jerry Tsatro Mordy, Kojo Preko Dankwa and Dominic Kissi Yeboah, the late KABA’s producer, who was then doing his internship.
We applied for accreditations from the NPP headquarters for all the team members including drivers who would be bringing the team food, water and other logistics but in the final day, I, Kweku Antwi-Otoo, was the only person who got the accreditation to cover the event.
In fact, it was disappointing and tough for the team but Von pushed us to cover the event and prove to the world what we can do despite the odds.
Nevertheless, that did not deter us from giving our audience what they needed from the congress grounds.
It was tedious for me because I was the only one who was moving around since I was the only one who had accreditation.
Security was tight and if they see you without accreditation, you would be thrown out. The team managed to enter into the Commonwealth Hall of the University on Friday and it run through Saturday until Sunday.
Let me take the opportunity to state that, according to the history of Multimedia, the Chief Executive Officer, Kwasi Twum (KT), has never written to congratulate any member or a team for putting up a performance but he did so after the coverage of the congress at Legon. This was because, we [Asempa FM Team] was new in the Multimedia Group, but the performance the team put out was superb.
While at Legon, KABA, who was then working with Top Radio, now Top FM, also in Accra, had pitched camp on the right side of Asempa set up at the grounds.
Interestingly, KABA was a jack of all trade at the venue. He was the technician, sound engineer, presenter, producer, just to mention a few. So what we [Asempa Team] decided to do was, to feed him with guests that have passed through our station to also enrich his content.
He covered the entire congress solely without the support of any staff from his station.
So on Sunday when the team was about to leave the venue, my Editor, Jerry Tsatro Mordy, came to me and said, “Kweku, have you seen the Top Radio guy, he said he would like to join the team, what do you think.”
I told my Editor it is good because I realized he was a hardworking guy, covering the entire congress alone. He discussed same with Kojo Preko who felt same. Jerry therefore asked me to exchange numbers with KABA so we can contact him when we get to the office and I obliged.
That was how it all started. He kept coming to the office [Asempa FM] to follow up and we (I, Jerry and Preko) kept assuring him of the chance while we push our ‘big men’ to consider him.
Finally, KABA joined the Asemoa team in 2008 as a news anchor. He was initially paired with Afia Amankwaa Tamakloe for Asempa News at 2pm and it was superb. He was also the sit in for the main host of Ekosii Sen, Nana Kwabena Bobbie Ansah, until finally, Bobbie left the huge seat for KABA. Many were skeptical as to whether he could fill in the shoes of Bobbie when Bobbie bowed out, but KABA proved to the world that he was more than fit for the post.
Now to the man KABA I know and work with. He was dedicated. He reads a lot. He does not complain even though we had challenges in production at a point in time as it happens in every media house. Ready to learn. Ready to correct. Sound authoritative. Exhibits professionalism. He was all round. Affable.
In fact, even though I have been out of Multimedia since 2011, KABA has been my target anywhere I go, even though I am not a presenter. I always push my host(s) to aspire to either beat or catch up with KABA and I am sure everyone I have produced would attest to this.
The news of his demise devastated me. In fact, I stopped breathing for a while until I realized I was driving so I had to control myself and get home safe. Yes, I drove home safe, but not of myself. Drivers kept blowing horns on me while driving because I lost concentration ever since I heard the sudden death.
Yiee, asem ben nie. I checked my whatsaap status and almost everyone on my contact was using the image of KABA. Thousands of whatsapp messages on my phone. Some want confirmation or otherwise. Others needed clarifications on what actually transpired. What is happening to the media in Ghana? What have we done? What did KABA do? God, why? This is unbearable. Death is inevitable but God, such deaths should have been pardoned. We needed such creature alive. We needed him to help shape the media industry. But you know best. No human can challenge your decisions and authority so if it is your will, then thy will be done. KABA will forever remain in our hearts and we know he will also remain in Your Heart, God.
The greatest writer William Shakespeare in his “King Henry VI, Part I”, said this about death: “‘What ugly sights of death within mine eyes!”. KABA’s death is ugly in our sight, but the same Shakespeare in his “Hamlet” said “On pain of death, no person be so bold”.
What I ask for, oh God, is total protection for the widow and the daughter he left behind.
Damirefa Due, KABA!
Damirefa Due, KABA!!
Damirefa Due, KABA!!!
The writer is an Editor/Producer at Media General Group [Onua 95.1FM/TV3 New Day]